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Approaches to Human Geography

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Approaches to Human Geography

Stuart Aitken & Gill Valentine

Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446215432 | Print ISBN: 9780761942634 | Online ISBN: 9781446215432 | Publisher:SAGE Publications Ltd

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Chapter 27: Poststructuralist Theories, Critical Methods and Experimentation

John W. Wylie

Poststructuralist theories, critical methods and experimentation Poststructuralist methods are above all critical methods. That is, they enable a perspective from which we can make critical assessments of, for example, existing social institutions, cultural beliefs and political arrangements. But straightaway we need to be careful in making such a claim. First, poststructuralist thought, writing and practice are characterized by a profound suspicion of bald statements and simple explanations for things. Poststructuralism is profoundly suspicious of anything that tries to pass itself off as a simple statement of fact, of anything that claims to be true by virtue of being ‘obvious’, ‘natural’, or based upon ‘common sense’. As a philosophy and a set of methods of doing research, poststructuralism (see Chapter 10 ) exposes all such claims as contingent, provisional, subject to scrutiny and debate. Second, we need to be careful because, while poststructuralism may be reasonably called a ‘critical philosophy’, it ...

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